A John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) program researcher has been nationally honored for expanding a science training program that was initially geared toward university students in Hawaiʻi to those throughout the Pacific.

George Hui, a malaria vaccine researcher in the JABSOM Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, received a certificate for starting and expanding STEP-UP or Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons. He was recognized for his dedication to fostering diversity among future generations of biomedical research scientists.

Three men with certificate
JABSOM researcher George Hui, middle, accepts his certificate flanked by Lawrence Agodoa and Griffin Rodgers of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Hui began the program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2002, initially as a contractor to the STEP-UP principal investigator at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. In 2003, he competed successfully for a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health as principal investigator to establish the STEP-UP program at JABSOM.

NIDDK, which funds national STEP-UP, provided additional funding to Hui to expand the program to other Pacific Islands, including American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the republics of the Marshall Islands and Palau.

Hui renamed the program Pacific STEP-UP.

“With George at the helm, not only has Pacific STEP-UP opened doors and broken glass ceilings, it’s created a path to biomedical research throughout the Pacific, one that can help improve public health, extend life and eliminate disabilities in a way that is so important to the local communities,” said NIDDK Director Griffin Rodgers, who presented the certificate to Hui with Lawrence Agodoa, NIDDK medical director.

See the full story on the JABSOM website.

—By Tina Shelton